Monday, June 13, 2011
this spring Spanish fork has been blessed with an abundance of rain, and an abundance of weeds in my wife's garden. although i have never liked gardening my wife does and i love her, so i have to and want to help her. the funny thing about weeding a garden is that it gives you alot of time to think; i guess simple work gives rise to complex thought. what usually end up thinking about is the metaphorical value of weeding in my life.
i have many things about my life of which i am proud and other things that worry me, sometimes to profound sorrow. many of these things are out of my control just like the return of the weeds, but does that mean that i should only pray and hope for a better outcome? the reluctant weeding gardener within me says "no." but i must do all that i can and keep on doing it regardless of the outcome, because a good attitude and completing the work will very likely improve the garden during its season of growth.
my neighbor Vee Hull wrote this editorial for a past ensign article. she read it to me while i visited her and her family last night. it says much of what i feel about this subject, she gave me a copy and gave me permission to print it here. it talks a great deal from her perspective and lessons learned during a long and noble life. i feel this has much to teach me and anyone who cares to listen.
The Worth of Weeds
By Vee Hull
With the arrival of Spring, also came the arrival of an abundance of weeds. I had sustained an injury the previous fall and the weeds went to seed. My husband and I carefully weeded and tilled the garden and did some early planting.
In April, I lost my balance on the bottom outside porch step and fell headlong into my rock garden. My left had jammed into a rock. My wrist and fingers were broken. I was heartsick, discouraged and hurting. I didn’t want my yard to go to weeds again and they were already growing fast. I slowly weeded with my good hand but new weeds quickly grew.
I again went out to weed and as I worked I mentally asked God a question. I said, “I understand you placed weeds here on earth to torment man and to vex us, and Lord - they surely do vex me. Is that the only purpose for weeds, other than to put our kids to work to keep them out of trouble?”
I had no sooner mentally asked the question when my mind flooded with answers, The thoughts came like words and I heard, “All things testify of me and teach of my gospel. The weeds growing in your garden are a shortcut lesson in life. Your garden represents your family. The weeds represent the evils and temptations that come into the life of you and your family.”
With this message in mind, comparisons between weeds and life came quickly. We cannot keep our garden free from weeds, just as we cannot keep our families free from worldly and evil influence. Weeds blow in and some are brought in on the fur of animals . Some even have umbrellas to insure their ability to travel. New weeds come in when you bring in soil or fertilizers to build up the garden. In comparison, television can bring in good seeds of learning like our garden seeds and flowers, or it can bring in the weeds of sinful pornography, vile music, negative advertising, etc. We have to recognize the good and turn off, or “Pull out” the weeds.
Some weeds grow slow, some are aggressive and fast growing. Some so called weeds have nutritious value but are weeds if growing in the wrong place.
We need to recognize the weeds in our life. The Lord has given us clear instructions to protect our families and help them grow strong in the gospel We are instructed to have daily individual and family prayer, to read our scriptures daily and to have home evening. These are the regular weeding tools the Lord has given us to weed out damaging influences that enter our home.
Some weed roots are tender and shallow and will break off if just pulled. they have to be carefully dug around and lifted out. When our children are young and tender, we have to take prayerful care to counter the influences of the popular culture in dress and music so these influences can be lifted out by the roots and not send our children into rebellion.
Some weeds, like Wild Morning Glory or Bind weed,” have roots that go deep and send runners all throughout he garden. The vine encroaches on everything and binds it up. It cannot be pulled but rather has to be killed with appropriate chemicals, and this only with repeated efforts. This type of weed is like drugs and pornography. It takes a deep hold on the life of anyone where it takes root. It “binds” the user to deep addictions that spread and affect others. It is nearly impossible to control or eradicate this “weed” when it enters ones life.
Some weeds, when young, resemble certain flowers and vegetables. If not recognized and weeded out when they are mature enough to be recognized for the weeds they are, they can go to seed and infect the garden. Sin comes disguised in many forms and we need to be watchful for the pretenders.
Some weeds have blossoms that are attractive. One would wonder why they are called weeds unless you are familiar with the mature plant. The puncture weed looks very pretty with its purple blossoms but when left to bloom and mature, those blossoms turn to a burr with sharp strong spines that are vicious enough to flatten a bike tire of cause great pain if stepped on with bare feet. They imbed in the soles of shoes and are carried to other areas to spread. Other plants of this type when mature, form hundreds of burs per plant and catch on the fur of animals and are carried and spread. Thistles have a lovely purple blossom which when mature form little umbrellas that sail and infect entire fields making them unusable for animals to feed on. In the scriptures, a prophet was sent to teach repentance to the people before their incorrect teachings spread like thistle blossoms on the wind and brought the entire people to unbelief.
My young son, out cutting down a field of thistle with me, asked me why God made the blossom so pretty if it was so bad. I explained that we were here on earth to make choices and learn to choose good over evil. I told him that if God made everything sinful appear ugly or taste bad, it wouldn’t be difficult to choose good. Satan puts an attractive appearance on evil to tempt us. God teaches us what is good and what is evil. He teaches us how to recognize evil and how to resist it. We have free agency to choose. Entire nations have gone down in decay because of the spread of attractive weeds of sin, and the inhabitants unwillingness to eradicate them before they went to seed and flourished and spread.
Weeds grow and flourish in the poorest of soils and even with lack of moisture. However, with the addition of soil amendments, fertilizers and water, they grow rapidly and almost outdo the garden plants. this is much like the battle between good and evil. For our homes to be spiritual and nourishing to our families, we must follow the gospel and enrich the soil or foundation of our testimonies and make our homes fertile ground for building the spirituality of our children. We are told that evil keeps pace with spirituality. When one is doing their best to live by the spirit and follow God’s commandments, Satan and his followers do their best to counter their efforts. Tests and roadblocks are put in their way. As the knowledge of the restored gospel spreads, so does Satan’s power and influence increase. If these strong weeds of Satan and his followers are allowed to take hold and not be weeded out, strong testimonies, or “strong plants” can be crowded out.
There is a product made in small granuals that can be spread on the ground and it will stop the germination of seeds. It has to be re-applied to handle further weed seed germination. This product in our garden is like the Holy Ghost in our home. If we are living the gospel sufficient to retain the spirit of the Holy ghost in our homes, it will be difficult for the seeds of sin to germinate. We must be faithful in maintaining this influence in our home or new seeds of sin or temptation will enter in. We must be diligent in following God’s commandments.
If weeds are allowed to grow and go to seed, those seeds multiply by great numbers. They germinate and grow every time the soil is turned and the seeds reach the surface. It takes many successions of weeding to finally eliminate the results of weeds going to seed.
How much better to remove the weeds in our garden when they first appear and prevent them from germinating when possible.
Watching a garden through several seasons and seeing the effect of careful weeding or neglect, shows in that short time what will happen in our families by the time our children mature if we do not take care to nourish and weed the minds of our children and tend the garden of our home for which the Lord has entrusted us.
I will never look at a weed in the same way again.